Women spearhead EFF protest against gender based violence

The murder of a young Nemato woman who mysteriously disappeared more than a week earlier motivated the local EFF to stage a protest and march last Thursday to draw awareness to gender based violence.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: Last Thursday EFF members together with community members assembled in Joe Slovo Street for a protest and march against gender based violence. They later headed to the Nemato Police Station to submit a memorandum of demands Picture: TK MTIKI

Since the country moved from level 5 of the lockdown to level 4 and 3, gender based violence (GBV) has dominated news across SA.

The EFF focused on the murder of Nwabisa “Tshetshe” Magadaza in the context of a national campaign against GBV.

TotT was unaware of the murder until the EFF protest. We asked police spokesperson Captain Khaya Tonjeni about the incident.

He said: “The body of a deceased 27-year-old female was found by community member in a bushy ditch area near the rubbish dumping site at New Rest, Port Alfred on June 8 at about 10am. The head of the body was already in decomposed state. She was last seen by friends over the weekend of May 30, while drinking. She left them to visit a boyfriend’s house after receiving a phone call from him. According to the boyfriend she never reached his place. The friends and close relatives searched for the missing woman for the whole week without success.”

Tonjeni said a charge of murder had been opened after post mortem indicated the cause of death was strangulation, and the investigation is at an advanced stage.

At the protest last week, members of the EFF and other community members gathered outside Nomzamo High School in Joe Slovo Street, singing and carrying placards highlighting gender based violence and the murder of Magadaza.

Some of the T-shirts worn by the marchers were marked with hashtags demanding justice for local victims of GBV.

While men were part of the march, women spearheaded the demonstration and did most of the talking when they explained the purpose of the protest. They cited two incidents of women abuse which took place in the township recently.

“As it is youth month we thought that we should stand together as youth in one voice and say that you know we are living in fear every day of lives because there is so much violence against women in our country,” Amanda Matomela said.

“Now it is everywhere. It’s in our homes, our churches, in our workplaces and in schools. We are saying that we standing together in this youth month to say we have had enough. We can’t be facing the coronavirus pandemic at the same time we are being killed, raped and abused.”

Explaining what she knew about the murdered woman, Matomela said: “Tshetshe is a girl from Port Alfred who disappeared for a week and then nobody knew where she was, and then afterwards she was found dead at the dumpsite. Nobody in the community has come forward to say what happened to her.

“But surely if someone has been found in a dumpsite dead there has to be someone who saw something, so this is why now we are saying justice for Tshetshe. There must be someone who heard her crying or saw her being dragged to that place,” she said.

Sinovuyo Hoyi related another incident of gender based violence. “On Saturday last week another girl [name withheld] was raped by two guys she does not know. I invited her to come to the march but she could not come because she has a doctor’s appointment today,” she said.

They headed to Nemato Police Station to submit a memorandum of demands concerning GBV.

The memorandum states: “We, men and women of the community of Port Alfred, demand an immediate end to gender based violence against women and children and as such these are our compiled demands. The South African Police Services constructs a well-established police station as it had been previously mentioned and reported that a police station would be built in Thornhill to accommodate the rising number of crime statics in Port Alfred.

“The community notes the renovations being done to the Nemato Police Station, however, they do not in any way contribute to the capacity of the police station to carry out its duties, thus the renovations are futile in this regard,” it read.

 

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